Featuring Xenogears and Davy Spillane.
Greetings fellow game music lovers,
starting the final part of Mitsuda season it has finally come to this: A game-pop music comparison featuring Xenogears (1998), the other great work of Mitsuda beside the Chrono series. Technically a mecha game, it features an epic plot over a timespan of ten thousand of years diving into deep psychological, religious and philosophical themes. The game also still has beautiful, hand drawn animation instead of 3d. In my opinion, the only Square game that can take on the best Final Fantasys. Main criticism of the game usually comes for the second disk, which is mostly presented by characters standing in front of a black background narrating the plot with action scenes interspersed. Directory Tetsuya Takahashi later attributed this to time and budget constraints.
It is common knowledge, that Mitsuda is an early proponent for using irish/celtic music in videogames which can already heard partially in the Chrono Series.
For Xenogears he hired Joanne from the Celtic band Iona to sing the english version of "Star of Tears". It is said, that he collaborated with Riverdance composer Davy Spillane on the original soundtrack (he supposedly played a low whistle) and later Maire Breatnach, a violinist form the same show, for the Creid Album. Consequently, several people pointed out over the years that many pieces on the soundtrack are reminiscent of the Riverdance soundtrack.
I don't know if anyone has ever compiled an exact list of possible references. Thus, today's entry tries to provide the first brick to such a list: The Xenogears song "The Treasure Which Cannot Be Stolen":
features a sequence that reminds me a lot of one from the Riverdance song "Lift The Wings" (1995):
Note: The video link doesn't seem to work in the U.S. Here one that supposedly works (thanks Tibizi):
I really have to look into this more closely if there is more.